Obedience to the laws and commandments of God has been, and ever will be, necessary for those searching to become recipients of promised blessings. It was He who declared: “This is my work and my glory to bring to past the immortality and eternal life of man.” 1
The Prophet Joseph Smith in May of 1833 received a revelation in which the Lord declared: “Truth is knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come…and no man receiveth a fullness unless he keepeth His commandments. He that keepeth His commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.” 2
The truth, which guides us, is available to everyone through the wisdom of a Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and the testimony of the Holy Ghost – it is by obedience that we learn of and receive the blessings which adherence to the laws and ordinances of the gospel promises.
President James E. Faust, Counselor in the First Presidency, posed the question stated by TS Elliott: “Where is the wisdom we have lost in information?” 3 Humankind, in a desire to gain wisdom and move forward, has at times lost sight of the end result, where obedience to the teachings and experience of the ages could have made a course correction for the wanderer.
Our beloved Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, in speaking to a body of the Church assembled in October 2010 recalled the message of President David O. McKay who, in the April 1957 opening session of General Conference, counseled the Saints to, “Keep the commandments of God.” 4
President Monson without equivocation declared: “This is the message we must give to our people today.” 5
The words of President Monson ring true to an earlier time in the statement of Nephi to his father declaring: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he will prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” 6
Today, as we remember the counsel of a Prophet to faithfully keep the commandments, and as we recall Nephi’s response, we will in the end become a blessed people.
It was obedience to the Heavenly counsel that destined young Joseph Smith to be a Prophet of God. Following the direction given by the Angel Moroni, and in keeping with subsequent instruction received, Joseph went as directed to tell his earthly father what had transpired. One that occasion, Joseph’s father, upon learning of what his son had been entrusted said: … “that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger.” 7
Anything short of being obedient to the counsel Joseph had received from both Heaven and earth would have changed the course of history.
It is important to also have an understanding that disobedience to the commandments and the counsel given by our leaders and teachers will only result in feelings of remorse and grief. The redeeming virtue for such action, which is clear and unmistakable, is made possible through repentance and the Atonement of He who paid the price for wayward children to return home to a loving Father in Heaven.
A hymn of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the words, I’ll go, I’ll say, and I will be. This is the direction in life which we must seek and answer with hand and heart.
Our missionaries pray, and they go trusting in the Lord that He will give no commandment unto them, save He will prepare a way for them that they may be successful through their obedience and willingness to serve. Scriptural words provide the assurance: “Whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” 8
Many who seek the truth and indicate a willingness to follow the teachings provided, find promised solace, not only for time but for all eternity. Individuals wishing to be counted among the believers, in many instances, already have a desire to be obedient and become followers of truth.
Such is the experience of individuals, both young and old, here in the Islands of the Sea whose obedience is with faith in every footstep.
The words of a Primary song, A Child’s Prayer, ring sweet and unmistakable: “Heavenly Father are you really there, and do you hear and answer each child’s prayer?” 9 The answer is yes, He is there, and yes, He does answer the prayers of His children.
Obedience has been the hallmark of Prophets and this source of strength is available to everyone seeking to follow the divine direction given to the servants of God. The counsel of our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, is to impress upon the Saints being taught in the classrooms throughout the worldwide Church, the need for obedience to the commandments, for therein is safety, therein is peace.
As we strive toward living in obedience and in doing as the Lord commands, even as direction is received through those of His chosen servants, we will be entitled to His blessings. May it ever be so.
- Moses 1:39
- Doctrine and Covenants:24,26-28
- President James E. Faust quoting - TS Elliott
- President David O. McKay, April 1957 General Conference
- October 2011 General Authority Training
- 1 Nephi:3:7
- Joseph Smith History 1:50
- Doctrine and Covenants:84:88
- A Child’s Prayer